Calls to halt EU funding for Israel security companies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels, Belgium [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

The Hebrew newspaper Israel Hayom reported on Sunday that Israel may lose billions of dollars if the European Union (EU) decides to exclude it from sponsorship for a scientific research and development program called Innovation Europe.

The budget of the program is one hundred billion dollars that will be allotted to tens of thousands of research and development projects and initiatives in the EU and surrounding regions from 2021 to 2027.

Proponents of the Palestinian cause handed a letter signed by more than 154 organizations and groups active in 16 countries to hundreds of EU members in the Belgian capital, Brussels, demanding the exclusion of all Israeli security companies from the financial support program provided by the EU.

The letter also includes Israeli civilian research companies considered as "a financial liaison securing European funds for Israeli military companies, through the implementation of projects that can be implemented in the civil and military fields". These companies have benefited from the Horizon 2020 program that will end by 2020 to be replaced by Innovation Europe.

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On the other hand, the letter said that, "though the EU claims that support funds go to projects with civilian applications, many of the approved projects had a twofold use and served military interests as well".

The letter addressed by the group of activists who seek to prevent Israel from getting European support attributes statements to Col.  Isaac Israel in which he says that, "we are a small country. If a satellite production line is established, it will be used for commercial and military purposes as well".

The information included in the letter pointed out that the EU cooperates with Israel in the field of border security, which is contrary to its principles. Therefore, the signatories called for banning all the Israeli security companies immediately from the European support plan.

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Hence, the signatories include the European Network against Arms Trade, the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees, the Workers' Party of Belgium, as well as the Association for the Defence of Human Rights and Religious Freedom and others.

According to the newspaper, Israel invested nearly €375 million Euros, until January 2017, in order to be illegible for the European support plan.